1st & 2nd Timothy — Lesson 4
What Paul Teaches to Timothy (and Thus to Us) About Determining and Maintaining Sound Doctrine
1. There is a sound doctrine. See Lesson 3.
2. How is it determined and maintained?
1. Is there a standard? 1 Tim. 1:11.
1. According to the glorious gospel – sets the standard (refers to a written outline or an artist’s sketch). 2 Tim. 1:13.
2. Sound words that you have heard from me. 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:2.
3. In faith and love which are in Christ.
1. Faith is the body of doctrine; love is the spirit in which it is presented. Eph. 4:15.
2. When we defend God’s word in a self-righteous and unloving spirit, the resulting opposition may not come from the offense of the gospel.
2. Can we know what the standard is?
1. 1 Tim. 6:3-5.
1. It is “different doctrine” – different from what?
2. Does not agree with sound words – those of Jesus Christ.
3. It does not conform to godliness.
4. Paul refers to more than the quotes of the Lord given in the gospel. It encompasses His message as revealed in Scripture, the word of Christ (Col. 3:16; cf. 1 Thess 1:8; 2 Thess. 3:1). It is that word that provides the healthy teachings by which believers grow. Peter wrote, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” 1 Pet. 2:2.
2. It is the words heard from Paul that he heard from Christ. 2 Tim. 1:13,14; Gal. 1:6-12.
3. Men are generally divided not over what the Bible says, but over what men say about the Bible. Deut. 4:2; Pro. 30:6; Rev. 22:18.19.
1. If it contains less, too little; more, too much; same thing, don’t need it because already have the Bible.
1. Jehovah’s Witness in Itasca collecting money during WWII to send the soldiers overseas copies of their creed book, when asked why they did not just send New Testaments, responded that “then they wouldn’t know about us.”
2. I963 Hemisphere – a woman who had been told of the necessity of baptism asked about passages that ascribed salvation to faith. When told that one should not take one passage and array it against all others, but should synthesize them all. Otherwise, one could argue that only baptism was required based upon 1 Pet. 3:21 that does not mention faith. It was suggested that one should not place belief and baptism in contradiction, but in harmony as Jesus did when he said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be damned. She responded that Jesus did not say that. When shown Mark 16:16 in the scripture, she said “I don’t care,” and walked away.
3. Radio preacher who said of Acts 2:38 – if you just read it you would think that baptism is essential to salvation, but let me tell you what it really means. (Another figured out why the lions didn’t eat Daniel – he rejected the king’s meat and thus, being a vegetarian, did not have an odor that attracted the lions. I wondered about the antelope!).
3. While it is true that some things are hard to understand (2 Pet 3:16), we can understand (Eph. 3:4; 5:17). 1 Tim. 2:4.
4. It is not subjective.
1. 2 Tim. 1:13, 14.
2. 2 Tim. 2:24-26 tells us three things about false teachers that could not be so it the gospel is subjective:
1. They are sinful – they need to repent.
2. They are in error – they need to come to the knowledge of the truth.
3. They are lost – they are in the snare of the Devil.
3. Must the standard be followed?
1. If not, why did Paul command Timothy to instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines? 1 Tim. 1:3,4.
1. Certain men
1. Apparently a few, marked, they had influence, not outsiders, probably elders in Ephesus.
1. Presumed to be teachers. 1 Tim. 1:7; 3:2; 5:17.
2. Paul handled them, not the church (church may have been having trouble handling the situation).
3. The letter gives the qualifications of elders in detail.
4. Paul stresses that sinning elders are to be publicly disciplined. 1 Tim. 5:19.
2. Strange doctrine – heterodidaskalein from hetero (of a different kind) and didaskaleo (to teach). Heterodoxy vs. orthodoxy.
3. Apostles’ teaching is the standard. Gal. 1:6-9-12.
2. If not, why did Paul treat it as a trust? 1 Tim. 1:11,14.
3. If not, why did Paul entreat Timothy to fight for it? 1 Tim. 1:18.
1. How reconcile with 2 Tim. 2:24-26?
1. Cannot mean to avoid all controversies.
2. When Truth was as stake Paul was a controversialist of the first order. Gal. 2:11-14; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7.
3. They are uninstructed and undisciplined because they go beyond scripture and do not submit to the intellectual discipline that scripture imposes. (See, 1 Tim. 1:3-7.)
4. They breed quarrels because when people forsake scripture for speculation, they have no agreed authority and no impartial court of appeal.
5. They lapse into pure subjectivism and so into profitless arguments in which one person’s opinion is as good (or as bad) as another’s.
6. If only the church had heeded that warning!
2. How are we to fight for it? 1 Tim. 1:18, 19.
1. We are to keep it. 1 Tim. 1:19.
2. We are to guard it. 1 Tim. 6:20.
3. We are to be nourished by it. 1 Tim. 4:6.
4. We are to preach (all of, Acts 20:27) it. 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2.
2. Good conscience.
1. The result of a pure life.
2. People often teach wrong doctrine to accommodate their sin. 2 Pet. 2:1-3.
3. Is it important to fight for it?
1. Not to do so is to make shipwreck of the faith and to blaspheme. 1 Tim. 1:20.
2. We are commanded to do so. 1 Tim. 1:18.
1. It is a command – not open to discussion.
2. Christian life is many things; among them, it is a war against evil and for God.
3. Paul left Timothy is Ephesus to fight. 1 Tim. 1:4-7; 4:1-3.
4. He defines our weapons. 2 Cor. 10:4,5; Eph. 6:13-18.
3. We must do so to be faithful to the trust given us. 1 Tim. 1:11,14.
1. To entrust is to commit something of value to another.
4. We must do so because the church is the pillar and support (foundation) of the truth. 1 Tim. 3:15.
1. Is the church the foundation of the truth or is the truth the foundation of the church?
2. Pillar – hold it firm so it will not collapse; hold it high so that the world can see it..
4. Why do we not fight for it?
1. Before you put your life on the line for what you believe, you must believe it.
2. To have the courage of your conviction, you must first of all have clear convictions.
3. In the name of love, understanding, and peace within the church and with society, almost any theology is accepted, or at least not challenged, no matter how much it contradicts the scripture.
4. All are more sensitive to public opinion than we would like to admit, and we tend to too readily bow down before its pressure, like weeds shaken in the wind.
4. If not, how did some fall away from it (the faith)? 1 Tim. 4:1.
1. Fall away – stronger than “straying” (1:6) or “shipwreck” (1:19).
2. Purposeful, deliberate departure from a former position; to remove oneself from the position originally occupied to another position.
3. The new position is described as that of deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. Deut. 32:17; 1 Cor. 10:20.
5. If not, why is it important to know it? 2 Tim. 3:7-9.
1. God wants his children (and all men) to have it. John 17:17; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25.
1. All men so that they can be saved.
2. Us so that we can proclaim it and preserve it.
2. Yet we study everything else.
6. If not, why did Paul instruct Timothy to retain it? 2 Tim. 1:13,14.
7. If not, why did Paul instruct Timothy to continue in the things that he had learned? 2 Tim. 2:24-26.
4. How is the standard to be maintained?
1. 1 Tim. 4:13-16.
1. Attention to scripture, exhortation, and teaching.
1. Present active indicative – continual attention – implies prior preparation.
2. Exhortation – challenge to apply.
2. Don’t neglect what you have.
3. Take pains with these things.
4. Be [absorbed] in them.
5. Progress open to all.
6. Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching to insure salvation for you and your hearers.
2. 2 Tim. 1:8 – not be ashamed. Rom. 1:16.
1. Strengthened, but not in self. Eph. 6:10.
2. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel, the name, or the people.
3. 2 Tim. 2:2 – pass on to others.
1. Christ gave to Paul. 1 Tim. 1:12; Gal. 1:12.
2. Paul received it by deposit, not invention. Gal. 1:11,12.
3. Paul gave to Timothy. ! Tim. 1:12, 14; 2:2.
4. Timothy to faithful men. 1 Cor. 4:1,2.
5. This is true apostolic succession – the message, not the men who teach it.
4. 2 Tim. 2:14, 15.
1. Kind of work – handle the truth.
2. Kinds of workmen – approved and unapproved.
3. Difference – how the truth was handled.
1. Good workman “cuts straight” – Arndt and Gingrich – cut path in straight direction; cut a road across country (difficult to pass through) in a straight direction.
1. To be accurate and plain. Acts 13:10.
2. Handles the word with such scrupulous care that he stays to the path himself and makes it easy for others to follow.
2. Bad workman swerves and misses the mark.
1. 1 Tim. 1:6.
2. 1 Tim. 6:21.
3. 2 Tim. 2:18.
4. Word of truth is a target – you hit it or miss it; word of truth is a road – you make it straight or crooked.
5. This kind of summons is not infrequently heard in the pages of the New Testament. It is specially relevant whenever innovators arise in the church, “radicals” who claim to be progressive and who repudiate everything that savors of the traditional.
It has perhaps never been more needed than today when men boast of inventing a new Christianity with a new theology or hermeneutic and a new morality. To be sure, the church of every generation must translate the faith into its changing life, relate the unchanging word to a changing world. But a translation is a rendering of the same message into another language, not a fresh compositions. Yet this is what some modern radicals are doing, setting forth concepts of God and Christ that Jesus and his apostles would not recognize as their own. John warned, 2 Jo. 9; 1 John 2:24. Similarly Paul enjoins Timothy to abide in what he had learned.
3. Can men change the standard? 2 Tim. 2:16-19.
4. What happens with men who attempt to change the standard? 2 Tim. 4:14.
5. Conclusion. 1 Tim. 6:20-21.
1. We are to guard.
2. We are to avoid.
3. We are not to follow those who have gone astray from the faith, the standard.
1. Believe the word of God. John 5:24; Mk. 16:15,16.
2. Honor the word of God. Job. 23:12.
3. Love the word of God. Psalm 119:97.
4. Obey the word of God. John 8:31.
5. Proclaim the word of God. 2 Tim. 4:2.
6. Defend the word of God. Jude 3.
7. Study the word of God. 2 Tim. 2:15.
6. Many children of God today are undernourished spiritually and, consequently, are underdeveloped, confused, disoriented, and immature in the things of the Lord. There are more popular preachers today than at any time in church history, but few powerful ones. There is much activity, but little spiritual fruit; much talk about Christianity, but little conviction; high moral proclamations, but little accountability.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)